Bananas are a yellow edible fruit filled with potassium. Pedro is a talking, smiling banana who is guiding me to kill. Why? Who knows? It is all in my head? Who said that?
Welcome to My Friend Pedro, an absolutely batshit crazy shoot ’em up that mixes the craziness of Hotline Miami with the bullet time you know and love from the Max Payne series. Originally a flash game back in 2014, the popularity that spawned from it inspired Victor Agren to turn it into a fully-fledged game, improving it on every aspect.
You start the game in a basement, awoken by a floating banana named Pedro after been knocked out. Pedro will teach you the tricks of the trade, how to perform certain manoeuvres and giving you small story snippets along the way as to who you are taking out.
You are very agile and skilled in killing. You progress through each level taking out bad guys, in such a choreographed way that it feels like an action seen ripped straight from The Matrix. All whilst guided by that adorable banana oracle.
The way the action plays out is very spectacular, it surprised me some of the set-piece looking sequences I managed to pull off. With the combination of sliding down a crane wire upside down, all whilst shooting two enemies at once was a sight to behold. Plus all of that was in slow motion, making it extra special. It took me a while to fully get to grips with remembering to trigger slow motion and also to dodge those hurtful bullets. Yet Pedro was always there to give me words of encouragement, and on normal difficultly, you shouldn’t die often.
Throughout the six areas, you’ll face off against gangsters, to bounty hunters in Christmas jumpers. The areas themselves do differ, warehouses, building sites and even on the streets on a motorcycle. Each level is consistent with its look but different to show that you are indeed in a new area. As you progress more opportunities will appear from using frying pans to bounce bullets to using a skateboard to traverse a building site. These additional mechanics add to the challenge, keeping you on your toes all the time.
You are scored throughout the level; Kills in quick succession will start a score multiplier; performing unique moves during your murdering will all increase your score. At the end of the level, you will be ranked from C to A, with a leaderboard to either cry at or scream with joy depending on where you are placed. The scoring system really increases the replayability especially when you master all the moves presented in the game. You’ll even be gifted a short replay of your best chaotic moment, to show off to all your friends. Should you want more of a challenge, the difficulty level ‘Bananas’ will be for you. No recharging health, high damage giving enemies and no way to dodge, should keep you going for a while.
There’s a lot to like about My Friend Pedro, it’s a great game to lose time in. With a lot going it never gets boring, it’s stylish and brutal. It runs great on the Switch, even when there’s absolutely tons of murdering happening on screen.
All this from one sole developer is extremely impressive. Wearing its inspirations on sleeves, MFP is one of the most unique 2.5D shooters to come out in a long time.
It’s tough to think of negatives, and even then it seems nitpicky. The game isn’t that long, especially once you get to grips with the skills you can use. The positive spin on this is the replayability to be had here.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*